(Last Updated On: June 12, 2016)
The La Plata subrange of the San Juans has long intrigued me. Maybe it’s the name, that sounds like the sort of place the Aztecs probably stashed treasure. Or maybe it’s just that they look really interesting from the Colorado Trail between Blackhawk and Kennebec pass, on the way to Durango. But it’s probably just that I like exploring new places to ski. So, this spring I finally made my way south to do some skiing in the La Platas.
My friend Will lives in the area and was happy to show me around for a couple of days. His friend Don also joined us, as we made our way towards Tomahawk Basin.
We were lucky enough to have a decent freeze, so we decided to do a warm-up run on the eastern facing part of the basin. From the ridge, we looked out towards southern Utah- there are no more mountains from here.
Better yet, this vantage point gave us a great view of a dogleg couloir on Babcock Peak that looked like fun:
We found great corn on our first run:
Next up, we headed towards the aesthetic couloir we had just been looking at. Will took the lead:
The snow was decent, although it was probably great springtime powder just a couple of days earlier. It still skied plenty soft for Will:
There was a fun little side exit at the bottom of the couloir, too. Will:
Day 2, More Skiing in the La Plata Range
The next day, it was just Will and I, and we headed to the basin just South of the one we were in the day before. Once again, we were greeted with a basin full of skiing opportunities. It doesn’t look like it, but the couloir just right of center was actually much longer than it looked from here.
Will, once again in the lead. The guy is strong:
The funny thing was that when we topped out on this couloir, we were at the top of the exact same line that we skied the day before, just from the opposite side. Deja Vu. There was a strong breeze that kept things cold so we hung out for a while. the true summit of Babcock requires some loose class 4 scrambling, but we were content to wait for the snow. Will:
The basin held some of the best corn I’ve skied this year. It felt so nice to just go fast, whichh is exactly what good corn allows you to do. Will again:
Overall, I’d have to say I was pretty impressed with my first foray into the La Plata range. Besides, Durango is a great town (or is it a little city?) It feels like one to me. If nothing else, I’m itching to get back to Zia Taqueria, that was one of the best burritos I can remember. There is probably some eye candy that will bring me back as well:
Hopefully EMS survives their restructuring. If not, there might be some good deals: